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Old 10-05-03, 04:26 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Tiger and crocodilian in Harlem apartment

NEW YORK (CNN) -- A man who kept a 400- to 500-pound Bengal tiger and a 3-foot, 280-pound alligator as roommates in his Harlem apartment was in custody Sunday, charged with reckless endangerment, police said.

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the tale began Wednesday, when police officers responded to a call of a dog bite at the 19-story public housing apartment building. They found Antoine Yates, 31, in the lobby, with injuries to his right arm and right leg that he told police had been caused by a pit bull, Kelly said.

Yates was taken to Harlem Hospital, where he was admitted for treatment.

Thursday, an anonymous caller told police that "someplace in the city, there was a large wild animal," Kelly said. "There was a large wild animal who was biting people."

The tipster called back Friday night, saying that the "wild animal" was at Yates' apartment, Kelly said.

When police returned Saturday to the apartment building to investigate, a resident told them the tenants included a tiger. Yates -- who had checked himself out of the hospital -- was nowhere to be found.

Police talked with a neighbor who said the man in the apartment owned a tiger. A fourth-floor resident complained that urine had seeped through her ceiling from Yates' apartment, Kelly said.

Still trying to determine what they were dealing with, police cut a hole in Yates' door.

"An officer who was guarding the apartment looked through the hole and indeed saw the large tiger pass by the open hole," Kelly said.

Larry Wallach, a tiger specialist from Suffolk County who assisted the police, said the orange tiger looked well-fed and in "great shape."

Wallach said he peered through the hole and saw the tiger lying by the window, and Kelly said he spied the animal contentedly licking its paws.

Police said the apartment was so cluttered they felt they had no choice but to rappel from above and shoot a tranquilizer dart from outside.

Officer Martin Duffy got the job, lowering himself from a seventh-floor apartment, armed with a tranquilizer gun and an M-4 rifle. Once at the window, he tapped on it with his shoe to get the tiger's attention.

The tiger lunged.

"I got pretty nervous, I'm not going to lie," Duffy told reporters later. "He broke the glass when he charged at me."

Duffy fired one dart into the animal and was then lowered to the ground. A second officer rappelled down the side of the building a few minutes later to ensure the animal was sedated before police entered the apartment through the door. They found the animal unconscious atop a pile of furniture.

The alligator was nearby. Both animals were taken to an animal shelter.

Yates, who surfaced later Saturday night at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital, in Philadelphia, was taken into custody and charged with reckless endangerment, police said.

"This is an only-in-New-York story," Kelly said.

Police suspect Yates got the tiger when it was a cub and had lived with it for as long as two years.

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Old 10-05-03, 04:33 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Old 10-05-03, 04:40 PM   #3 (permalink)
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3-foot, 280 pound Alligator? That must have been one STOCKY alligator!
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Old 10-05-03, 04:45 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Yeesh! Tigers are NOT apartment pets! May have been well--fed, but guaranteed the poor guy is not in great shape. Probably flabby instead of well-muscled. Wonder what the fate of the poor gator will be Animal shelters aren't a reptiles best friend that's for sure. No doubt the Tiger will be placed somewhere acceptable.
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Old 10-05-03, 05:37 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Hell at least he wasnt abusing the animals he probley took better care of them then they will get now
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Old 10-05-03, 07:01 PM   #6 (permalink)
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wow. i can't imagine people keeping tigers as pets...but then again my parents can't imagine why I'd keep snakes. i do agree with Linds, though...I would imagine that a Tiger would need lots of room to run in. I wonder what the shelter will do with them now, though...
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Old 10-05-03, 07:05 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Heh.. My 6'-7' gators are around 160lbs.. Thats one fat gator, and the two year old bengal at a heavy adult weight already doesnt seem logical to me.. Great story though, I wouldn't tap on an apartment window wih a tiger inside..

Hell at least he wasnt abusing the animals he probley took better care of them then they will get now
If over feeding an animal isn't abuse sure, great care.. The tiger looked great, and the gator, Im sure looked damn near like a fat snake.. Oh wait.. The care for thetiger doesn't seem right.. I'm sure the animal isnt getting proper Illumination, I wonder how the vitamins are cared for and distrubited, I'm sure the apartment isn't 10' high, I didn' think couches and tvs were proper housing furniture, The tiger wasnt secure, and are apartments in NY a minimum of 400 sq. ft? I doubt the animals were properly cared, and if the story is true, especially about te gators weight and size, Neat. Plus, how can anyone pass the smell and grunts of a tiger? Almost seems farfetched..

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Old 10-05-03, 07:32 PM   #8 (permalink)
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i figure he probably took care of the tiger as a cub cause u cant sneak a full grown tiger into an apartment. and the article said the person looked through the key hole to see the tiger roaming around so the tiger was obviously familiar with its owner. i'm sure it could've been healthier in the wild but u gotta feel sorry for this guy who lost his roomates.
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Old 10-05-03, 08:18 PM   #9 (permalink)
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That's so insane that I find that story really hard to believe. Nonetheless, I really feel sorry for the animals. Who in their right mind would keep such large pets in an APARTMENT?????
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Old 10-05-03, 08:58 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I have 4 cats and I find it a pain to change the you imagine the grief he would have had with the clean-up of a Bengal tiger.....also the amount of food that a 2yr old tiger would eat would be expensive...great story...the funny thing is also that the neighbors knew of the tiger...too funny
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Old 10-05-03, 09:54 PM   #11 (permalink)
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ya the "funny" thing is the neighbors knew of the tiger and did nothing of it.......and a 3ft gator at 200 some odd pounds....holy crap! my bp is about 3 1/2 feet, if he was 200 some odd pounds he would just be ROUND........poor animals.
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Old 10-05-03, 10:28 PM   #12 (permalink)
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That's just nuts. Kinda hard to believe, but hey, it's New York...
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Old 10-05-03, 10:54 PM   #13 (permalink)
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i kinda feel bad for him that the cops took his kitty away. but it doesn't belong there.

if i lived on a farm man i would have loved a tiger.
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Old 10-05-03, 10:56 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Crazy. I've always wanted a tiger, but unless we buy the land around us it's not going to happen.
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Old 10-05-03, 10:59 PM   #15 (permalink)
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im just glad it wasn't one of those storys that have abused animals.

is it possible for him to get the tiger back by any chance? If he moved into a house with a field.
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